Summary: But to the one who does not work but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly (Rom 4:5), He says that you can rejoice that your name is recorded in heaven, and by faith you have chosen the good part that can never be taken away.
(Part 2 of 2 in a study of the Parable of the Good Samaritan)
“And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” 27 And he answered, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE.” 29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31 “And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 “Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 “But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 “On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” 37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”
Previously, we looked at this interrupting lawyer, his impertinent question of Jesus, and the legalism expressed, both in his question and his response to the challenge of Jesus to keep the very Law the man had put his trust in.
Remember that Jesus answered the lawyer’s test with a test of His own, asking the man for his own take on the Law.
Now let’s not move too quickly and miss a point that is before us here.
The lawyer stands up, and says ‘Teacher’ – now listen to his question – ‘what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ Got it? ‘What shall I do’; so the assumption is that he must do something. And this is not an assumption unique to this man. It was a fundamentally accepted belief among the Jews.
Even Jesus’ disciples, at this point, still labored under the commonly held belief that acceptance with God was through the works of the Mosaic Law.
So in reality, he asks a question that is on the mind of every Jew and every God-fearing gentile of the day. “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Hear the nature of the question? His concern is the life after this one. They all believed in a life after death; except the Sadducees who didn’t believe in Heaven or Hell or angels or resurrection; but everyone else believed in a life after death. They just didn’t know exactly what was in store for them or what the trick was for securing eternal life.
So he asks the question to test this Rabbi, and the response he gets takes his question back to the Mosaic Law. Isn’t that interesting?
Hey, Jesus didn’t come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. He said so Himself.
What makes this hit us kind of screwy is our knowledge from the Scriptures that salvation and eternal life are not the result of the keeping of the Law of Moses or any law, but of Grace alone through faith alone in the shed blood and resurrection of Christ alone. So what’s going on here? Why is Jesus Himself referring to the Law in response to a question about eternal life?
It is because He is talking to someone who believes salvation is through the Law, and his own intense study of it, his own meticulous adherance to it, his dedicated repeating of it twice each day, says that according to his own understanding, he already has and knows – or thinks he knows – the answer to his own question.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself”
Now was Jesus telling the truth when He said, “You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE”?